Bridge near Robert Burns’ ‘healing waters’ bathing spot collapsed

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A bridge next to Brow Well, known as Robert Burns’ bathing spot and for its “healing waters”, crumbled yesterday.

The road crossing over Brow Well next to a well famed for its visits from Robert Burns collapsed yesterday, forcing the closure of the road in Ruthwell near Dumfries and Galloway until repairs can be carried out.

According to the local authority, first inspections found both the top and underneath of the bridge neighbouring the historic site were damaged.

Located near the villages of Ruthwell and Clarencefield, the bridge crosses over the stream of which the natural iron-salt rich water was known for its healing qualities, encouraging local residents during the 18th century to visit the site when they fell ill.

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In 1796, as his health took a turn for the worse, Robert Burns visited the well following advice from his doctor to drink the murky water and wade in it, hoping it would cure his flying gout, later recognised as rheumatic fever.

The bridge over Brow Well before and after. Pictures: Geograph/ Dumfries and Galloway Council.

The bridge over Brow Well before and after. Pictures: Geograph/ Dumfries and Galloway Council.

However, the water from the Solway sea failed to improve his health and he died later that year.

Since then, it has attracted Burns enthusiasts from all over, and has become the site of a commemoration service which takes place in July every year, to mark the year he died.

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Ahead of the anniversary in 2016, the bathing spot was transformed, including new surrounds which were engraved with his poetry, new paths and a panel for interpretation to preserve the site and the story of the Bard.

The crumbling bridge crosses the Brow Well known as the bathing spot of Robert Burns in the 18th century. Picture: Geograph

The crumbling bridge crosses the Brow Well known as the bathing spot of Robert Burns in the 18th century. Picture: Geograph